VAWA Self-Petitions

Immigration Overview
VAWA Self-Petitions
VAWA Self-Petitions

Protections Available Under the Violence Against Women Act

Obtaining a family-based visa usually requires that your spouse or relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident submit a petition on your behalf. But when there is domestic violence or abuse in the relationship, the immigration process can be misused to further control or abuse the noncitizen family member.

To help guard against these abuses, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, which was then expanded in 2013 and 2022. This created a path for noncitizens to self-petition for a green card under certain circumstances.

Understanding VAWA Protections

The VAWA allows immigrant women and men to continue to pursue green cards after being physically abused by their spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. After its re-passage in 2013 and 2022, the amended version of the law now includes federal protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals and Native Americans, as well as for immigrants.

Providing documentation of the abuse can be important in filing a successful petition under the VAWA. Petitioners must also demonstrate proof of good moral character to be eligible. The attorneys at Villarrubia & Rosenberger, P.C. have helped many clients take advantage of the protections and opportunities that the VAWA provides. We are available to discuss your unique situation and the best options for adjustment of status in your case.

What is a VAWA Self-Petition?

In a normal family-based immigration process, your spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident must file an immigration petition on your behalf, also known as sponsoring you. Under the VAWA, family members subjected to cruelty and abuse may file a petition on their own behalf, called self-petitioning. If this petition is approved, you will be eligible for permanent residence and a green card, without the involvement of your abusive relative or partner.

It is possible that you may qualify for protection as a victim of domestic violence and also qualify for other immigration benefits, such as a U-Visa. Knowing which option is right for your situation requires experienced evaluation. Our office can assist with determining and demonstrating eligibility for either option.

Immigration Help Is Available

Our attorneys have helped many clients convince USCIS officials of the violent nature of crimes committed against them and file successful VAWA self-petitions. Our immigration lawyers can discuss the specific circumstances of your case and explore your options for achieving the most favorable resolution. Contact us at our Indianapolis office by calling 463-207-9900 or emailing us to schedule a consultation with an attorney. We accept credit cards and offer in-person, video and telephonic appointments. We accommodate clients throughout Indiana who speak many languages. Hablamos español.

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